Verreaux's Eagle

Aquila verreauxii
Population status:
Least Concern
Body length:
80-90 cm (31.5-35 in)
181-219 cm (71-86 in)
3,000-4,150 g (106-146 oz)
Verreaux's Eagle

Simon Thomsett

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Did You Know?

  • The Verreaux's Eagle is also known as the African Black Eagle
  • In much of its range, its abundance is highly correlated with the density of rock hyraxes - a major prey species.
  • These eagles are fierce protectors of their nest and young. Researchers have reported them even throwing or kicking rocks and other items to chase off predators. 

Other Eagles

How The Peregrine Fund is Helping

Though The Peregrine Fund doesn't work directly with African Hawk-Eagle, in Kenya, our scientists are working hard to learn about and protect all raptors and their habitats. Through environmental education efforts, we are also working to put a stop to the common practice of poisoning carcasses to kill large predators, which also kills a host of wildlife including vultures, eagles, and other scavenging birds. These efforts will certainly benefit all raptors of the region, including the African Hawk-Eagle. 

Meanwhile, our efforts in scientific research, habitat conservation, education, and community development help conserve birds of prey around the world. We also supply literature to researchers from our avian research library, which helps scientists around the world gather and share important information on raptor conservation. We also run the Global Raptor Impact Network which gives raptor researchers tools to more efficiently conduct their own studies while contributing to a global program. GRIN also provides citizen scientists a way to participate in raptor science and conservation.

Where They Live

This lovely, distinctive eagle is mostly found in eastern and southern Africa, as well as in some areas of the Middle East. It prefers to make its home in rocky foothills, gorges, and montane habitats. 

What They Do

This diurnal bird of prey spends its time perching on visible lookouts, or soaring along rock faces. The Verreaux's Eagle, like all top predators, plays a very important role in its environment. It hunts other animals for food but no animals hunt it on a regular basis. They are unlike snakes, for example, which prey on mice, birds, and other animals but also are preyed upon by animals that feed on them. For most top predators, their only threat is humans. Top predators, such as the Verreaux's Eagle, play an important role in nature by helping to control populations of prey animals and maintain a balance in the ecosystems where they live.

The Verreaux's Eagle is also known as an umbrella species. Just as several people can stand under a large umbrella and be protected from the rain, so too can many species of wildlife be protected by conserving one species like the Verreaux's Eagle. To protect the eagles, we must protect the animals they need for food, the plants and animals that their prey feed on, and the trees that these eagles nest in, which helps protect the other animals that use these trees for food, shelter, and space. Conserving Verreaux's Eagles and their habitat automatically provides protection for all the other plants and animals that live there too

Why They Need Our Help

While the Verreaux's Eagle is categorized as a species of Least Concern, and it is generally widespread, this eagle is persecuted by some farmers. Additionally, because of its strong dependence on hyraxes for food, when these prey animals are hunted for skins and food, the eagle populations may often decline.  

What They Eat

In the southern portion of its range, the Verreaux's Eagle prefers to prey mainly on rock hyraxes. But it will also take small mammals, birds, and reptiles. It occasionally also feeds on carrion. Often hunts in tandem with one bird probably distracting the prey while the other attacks

Nests, Eggs, and Young

These eagles build very large stick nests which they place on a rocky cliff, tree, and even sometimes on a pylon. They often line the nests with soft, green sprigs. The birds will reuse the nest, adding new materials to the nest each time they nest, which isn't necessarily every year.

The female will lay 1-2 eggs, and they must be incubated for around 44 days. After the nestlings hatch, they will remain in the nest for 13-14 weeks.Though both nestlings will hatch, usually the older eaglet will kill the younger one. When the eaglet hatch they are covered in white down. During this time, the male will work hard to catch enough food for himself, the female and their offspring. Though he provides the food it is the female that will actually feed the nestlings, by ripping off small pieces of meat which she will delicately feed to them. 

Verreaux's Eagle and the World Center for Birds of Prey

Though far away from Verreaux's Eagle habitat, the World Center for Birds of Prey offers fun ways to learn about raptors. Interactive activities, tours, interesting videos and a children's room with activities from coloring sheets and quizzes to costumes and a touch table are available for the curious mind. We also have several different birds of prey on display year-round, including several hawk species!  A visit to the World Center for Birds of Prey will reward you with a close-up look at several different hawk species from around the world including the beautiful Bateleur, the powerful Harpy Eagle and the majestic Bald Eagle. On display in an outdoor aviary, Stoffel, the Bateleur, delights visitors with his colorful plumage and entertaining behavior. Our experts and volunteers at the visitor center will help you learn more about the interesting traits, feeding habits, and reproductive behavior of this unusual eagle. Housed in our outdoor facilities, Sky the Bald Eagle greets visitors year-round from her chamber. When you walk the interpretive trail that looks out over the Boise valley in the winter, you may be able to spot a Bald Eagle soaring over the grasslands or perched in a tree or on a distant power pole. Grayson, the Harpy Eagle, will delight you with his gentle demeanor. We have a mounted eagle on display, real Harpy Eagle feathers you can touch, and a short video that chronicles the exciting journey of our biologists as they work to hatch young eagles, raise them, and ultimately release them into the dense forests of Panama. Fancy, our resident Ornate Hawk-eagle is an amazingly colorful bird of prey. Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers are on hand to answer any questions you may have about Verreaux's Eagle or other raptors.


Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii. Downloaded from on 4 Dec. 2021

Kemp, A. C., G. M. Kirwan, and P. F. D. Boesman (2020). Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxii), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.